The recent launch of the Connecticut Baby Bonds program provides an important model for philanthropy, policy, and community advocates to work together to address the widening racial wealth gap and to create asset-building opportunities at the state-level. It is no wonder that so many states – – California, Washington, DC, Massachusetts, Nevada, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Jersey, Georgia, and Maryland are all exploring Baby Bonds as a policy solution to level-the-playing-field and provide an onramp for equitable wealth building.
The rise of Baby Bonds reflects an exciting opportunity to create lasting and systemic change and to revisit the promise of financial health and prosperity for all Americans. It also reflects decades of philanthropic and political partnerships and investments, and it tells a story of how philanthropy and state advocates can leverage policy change by working together to support asset-building opportunities for low and moderate income families. At the same time, it allows us to identify the policies and programs that will help maximize the benefit of the bonds.
On October 12, 2023, AFN held a webinar to learn from leaders in developing and supporting Baby Bonds and shared the story of how targeted investments by philanthropy and policy leaders led to the passage of Baby Bonds in Connecticut and provided a blueprint for state-level investments that can make sure that future Baby Bonds recipients can fully use their Baby Bonds to invest in wealth building opportunities.
Together we discussed:
- Why Baby Bonds and Why Now?
- Roles for philanthropy in implementation, engagement, learning, and complimentary family services and supports.
- Policy leadership and early-stage lessons from other states.
- How states can innovate and motivate federal Baby Bonds policy?
- How philanthropy can complement wealth building efforts with programs and policy supports to maximize wealth building benefits?
Joe Antolìn (Moderator), Asset Funders Network
Erick Russell, Connecticut State Treasurer
Dr. Darrick Hamilton, The New School
Mendi Blue-Paca, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation
Alexandra Cawthorne Gaines, JPMorgan Chase & Co